Njambi Waruhiu returns to CIO East Africa as Laura Chite’s tenure appears uncertain

Njambi Waruhiu, who left Kommunication Ultimate, the publisher of CIO East Africa where she was the Business Development Manager, to join iZone Africa as the Sales and Marketing Manager, has moved back to the company less than a year after her departure to take up her previous role.

According to sources, Njambi did not completely sever links with the firm even when she left but kept on bringing in and referring clients on consultancy basis while earning commissions on the side.

(TOP: Njambi Waruhiu, the former Business Development Manager at CIO East Africa – left – and a delegate during the 2015 CIO100 Awards & Symposium. She has resumed her previous role at the publishing and events firm, making the continued tenure of current CEO Laura Chite, very uncertain).

However, she comes back to head a depleted Marketing and Sales team whose staff exodus began during her previous tenure, as key sales staff left citing frustrations due to her mode of working and handling colleagues under her. Among the key members of the marketing who left citing frustrations from was Oscar Amuyunzu who has since joined Borderless Tracking as the Head of Sales.

Interestingly and curiously, Njambi is now reporting directly to the company’s two co-founders – that is Harry Hare and Andrew Karanja – and not to the CEO, Laura Chite. Before her departure to move to iZone Africa, Ms Waruhiu reported to Ms Chite as her immediate boss, like all the other staff within the company.

Her current reporting structure has led to speculation that Ms Chite, who joined the firm just a year ago in April 2017, may soon be on her way out of eDevelopment House, the publishing and event management company’s premises along Limuru Road.

And there are reasons to support the possibility of Ms Chite’s imminent departure (and eventual replacement as CEO) of the company. First is the issue of high staff turnover which has led many clients of the company to question the management skills of the CEO who joined the firm from Microsoft East Africa in May last year.

Apart from Oscar Amuyunzu, other staff members who have quit the company during the 1 year during which Ms Chite has been in charge include Ruth Wangare, the former accountant and Rachael Kanyolo, the former head of HR. Ms Kanyolo has moved to Borderless Tracking, effectively reuniting with two of her former colleagues – Oscar Amuyunzu and Ruth Kang’ong’oi. Apparently, Kanyolo got so frustrated by the CEO after returning from her leave that she decided to throw in the towel.

Still on staff departures during Ms Chite’s tenure as CEO, it is rumoured that Lilian Mutegi, who has been a Staff Writer at CIO East Africa since 2012, was recently told by the CEO – not her editor, Humphrey Odhiambo – to tender in her resignation. It however still remains unclear whether Ms Mutegi has since left CIO East Africa or serving notice.

Then there’s the issue of marketing. Those in the know are of the opinion that apart from Microsoft, her former employer, Ms Chite has no other client to speak of, one year after becoming CEO, only relying on taking up clients and accounts left by departing colleagues like Telkom Kenya and SEACOM.

It will therefore be interesting to watch how Njambi and Chite work together to steer the ship that is the CIO East Africa brand into its next phase – of either growth or demise – now that they’re firmly in control.

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